GamerZines: The other big thing with WWE ’13 is that you guys are improving things that have perhaps needed to be improved for sometime. Crowd sounds for example are a huge step up from any wrestling game before, with you guys capturing audio from actual events rather than having to artificially recreate it. Inevitably those improved ambience effects, need to be supported by better voice acting performances both from the wrestlers and commentators. It must be difficult to recreate those arena performances when you have to capture them in a soundbooth.
Cory Ledesma: That’s definitely a challenge, the goal is to put the talent in the perspective that we’re trying to set. The talent are complete professionals and sometimes it just takes a professional to coach and setup the situation for them, so that they understand the context. Sometimes we use that context for multiple situations because it’s convenient to do that, but a lot of times it might not fully translate to a certain situation. That’s when we bring in this new audio team, they’re complete professionals about that and they are very mindful that we give proper direction to the talent, so they know what we’re trying to get across, and that we’re using assets properly and putting them into the best position to succeed. Having as big an audio team as we have this year has helped to do that.
GamerZines: Does that extend to commentary as well? As that is another feature that really needs improving.
Cory Ledesma: Absolutely, commentary is a big part of that. We’re going to continue to work on that, we haven’t unveiled it yet because that phase hasn’t been completed yet. We get the sound effects and crowd in first, the audio team is very confident about it. I don’t think anyone thinks it’s going to be an overnight success, even our audio team that worked on the UFC game felt like they couldn’t do fantastic sounding audio until the third year. It went to really good, to great, to awesome. We think the same thing, we aren’t going to make the best commentary system in the world, but we know we’re going to make huge leaps from last year and we’ve invested in that for the future.
GamerZines: Obviously historically the WWE series has plenty of modes, and Road to Wrestlemania was undoubtedly one of the most popular. This year that story-based mode is being dropped for the Attitude content, why did you decide to take it out?
Cory Ledesma: I think mostly, we felt that the mode was starting to get a little stale. Also there’s a bit of a disconnect with original fiction. WWE helps us create that original fiction, but even if the fiction is amazing there’s still a disconnect as you’ve never seen it on television. Since you don’t have that past experience, it’s hard to find a really strong connection. A lot of people were able to get into it and I can totally imagine that happening – it’s authentic, the WWE helps us write it! I think we just wanted to take a break from it. I think whenever you get comfortable, you aren’t doing something right. I always want to try to push things a little bit, out of our comfort zone, push consumers to try out something different and we promise you you’re going to like it and be entertained. You might fear change, but a lot of times change introduces some wonderful things. When it comes to WWE ’13, I’ve never been as excited about any story-mode in a wrestling game as I am about this year’s.
GamerZines: How much does using archive footage from the shows actually help recreate that atmosphere?
Cory Ledesma: Tremendously! The WWE are phenomenal are creating these movie trailer-esque packages and they put them out all the time. I’m in awe of just how great they are. To get that quality into our game and more specifically for them to create custom packages for our game, I really couldn’t ask for any more. That’s one of my favourite parts of this mode is to see that footage. It’s such a nostalgia play, you can see cutscenes all day long but until you see the actual thing you’re like, “I remember that, it was so great! The performances were so great!” It raises the quality on that mode tremendously.
GamerZines: Are THQ as interested in emulating wrestling’s past as they are perhaps its present? WWE All Stars completely tapped into the historical side of the discipline and was loved for that. Would you ever be willing to just do an Attitude game for instance, or maybe another well known era from the past?
Cory Ledesma: We are very careful not to neglect the current day WWE roster, that was very important to us. Although there may not be a dedicated story mode to it, the Universe mode is where you can get the current day experience and we’ve added a lot of stuff which we will talk about later on that will help supplement that. Having a separate game built around Attitude is an interesting concept. I don’t know if it would work or if it wouldn’t, but I think this is the perfect opportunity to showcase something, and in the future we can do whatever we want. Maybe we want to showcase another era, or focus more on Attitude or maybe do something different. It leaves the door wide open, whereas I think maybe doing a one-off game could lock you into a box a little bit. I think you can only have so many WWE products out there probably before you start to confuse or overwhelm the consumer. I think that plays into it a little bit, but who knows what the future holds.
GamerZines: WWE ALL Stars 2 will never happen at this point, but the success of the first game shows that people want more than just simulated wrestling. You know people want outlandish experiences that kind of take the license in new directions. Do you guys recognise that want?
Cory Ledesma: I think that obviously since we released WWE All Stars we saw that there was a market for that, a desire to have that kind of experience. Historically with all other sports franchises, those games do well the first time out, but they don’t sequel well.
GamerZines: Does the novelty where off perhaps?
Cory Ledesma: I think so, I don’t think they have as much potential to be different year to year. Simulation titles tend to do the best, and these other compliment titles are great – they play the supporting role really well. If you want a break from the simulation title, you want a different experience I think they serve that purpose well. Maybe it’s a different title, maybe something else WWE-related can fill that void.
GamerZines: As long as it isn’t a kart racer!
Cory Ledesma: We can both agree on that!
WWE’13 will be released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii on November 2nd in Europe.
Tags: WWE 13
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